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Top Camping Spots for Families in San Diego

Best Campgrounds on the Beaches and Beyond

From sleeping to the sound of crashing waves to laying in a range of lions, here are some of the top places for families to camp in San Diego.

By: Chelsea Gladden; Mommy Blogger at Breezy Mama

Where to Spend a Memorable Night Under the Stars

With San Diego's amazing weather, setting up a tent or camper and enjoying the stars is the perfect way to end a sun-filled day. From the best ocean-front spots where you can sleep to the sound of crashing waves, to laying your sleeping bag in range of lions (yes, seriously), here are some of the top places for families to camp in San Diego.

Campland On the Bay

An award-winning area that hosts both tents and RVs, this Mission Bay site sits right on the bay. It’s also great for quick access to many of the downtown area attractions. In fact, campers will be treated to the seasonal fireworks show from nearby SeaWorld. Also on hand are concerts, volleyball, horseshoes, a pool and a skate park, along with many other bayfront activities.

San Diego KOA Resort

Offering more of the "glamping" style vacation is this camping destination located near downtown San Diego. Cabins include TV with surround sound, air conditioning, kitchens and more. If you prefer to rough it, tent spots and RV parking are offered as well. Conveniently located near many of San Diego's top attractions, enjoy your visit and finish off at the onsite pool.

Lake Jennings Park

Heading inland, this lakefront option is great for the family who likes to go fishing. Complete with a covered playground area for kids, paddleboat, rowboat or motorboat rentals are available onsite. With some of the best fresh water fishing in the county, make sure to bring your permit and license. Onsite day use passes are available for adults, and youth groups that make prior reservations can cast their lines for free.

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve

For more fishing fun, park your camping gear at this 190-acre park. With seven lakes created from recycled water, enjoy nature via boat, biking and more. Opt to take your RV or tent, but if the outdoor lifestyle isn't for you, check out the floating cabins. Located on the waterfront with kitchen, flat screens and more, these are a happy medium for non-campers.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park: Roar and Snore

Enjoy an overnight adventure inside the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Sleep near lions and elephants (safely secured in their habitats of course), overlooking the park's African Plains field exhibit, which also includes giraffes, rhinos and more. Tents are provided and vary in pricing and options. The overnight stay includes dinner, a snack and breakfast, as well as up-close animal demonstrations. Roar and Snore is the ultimate experience for campers who want to be a part of the wild.

Carlsbad State Beach

Situated in North County San Diego, this campsite features oceanfront spots with easy access to the beach by day and the soothing sounds of crashing waves to lull you to sleep at night. Stretching 40+ acres, children can cruise the campgrounds on their bikes or scooters all the while catching views of white water waves. When hunger strikes, stock up at the store on the premises or hit the nearby grocery store for hot dogs and buns. Ideal for tents or RVs, reserve in advance as spots fill up quickly. Currently a Wi-Fi free zone, prepare to keep the focus on family fun.

San Elijo Campground

Similar to the Carlsbad State Beach site, this camping area is also beach front and ideal for families looking for some fun in the sun. Not only is there a family-friendly 360-degree ocean view taco stand on the grounds, but a camp store as well. Just a short walk outside the grounds you’ll find plenty of restaurants and coffee shops, for those who prefer a few more comforts of home.


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